Posted by Bob on October 21, 2005
In Reply to: That's the breaks posted by Rita on October 21, 2005
: Would like to know the origin of "that's the breaks" haven't been able to find -perhaps it's too obvious. Somehow, though, I thought it had to do with gambling or something like that. Any ideas would be most appreciated.
The word "break" has about 50 meanings, counting both noun and verb variants. Many of them are connected with luck, chance, happenstance, the randomness of fortune. "I'm looking for my big break," or the break that starts a billiards or pool game, when the balls are scattered in seemingly random patterns. We watch a close sporting event to see if luck is going to break one way or another ... a sudden change of luck has the same finality as breaking a twig. So "that's the breaks" (or, often in the US, a colloquial "them's the breaks") is a summing up of "gee, things went this way and that, but the final roll of the dice left you in this situation." Hey. Sometimes you can't get a break.